Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In High Regard

(Why yes, that is a vintage mourning ring on the cover!)

My first Barbara Michaels book came from a grocery store; a desperate, last-ditch read. I was in high school, a nerdy kid who read a lot. The adult me isn't much different. Anyhow, the book was the best. I've re-read it about ten times since then, and have taken in her entire oeuvre several times over. My favorite book of hers is entitled Into the Darkness. It revolves around what, then and now, is basically my dream life. A lovely young girl must return to her hometown after her grandfather dies to face her past and figure out what to do with the enormous jewelry collection (including a vintage jewelry store) that she inherited. Obviously I could do without all the past-facing, but the jewelry descriptions in this book are like crack to me.
My favorite part discusses Meg's regard ring collection, something I had never heard of before.

I still couldn't find too much after I read the book, but this was about ten years ago, and the Internet had not yet reached it's glory stage. I've certainly found enough to fill up this post though, lucky you!

Dearest Ring, $159 AU
(My favorite of the bunch)

Regard rings are a form of acrostic jewelry. Even if you don't know the word acrostic offhand, you've probably experienced it before. Acrostic basically means that the first letter of every word (in whatever you are dealing with) spells something. In second grade I had to write MOTHER poems in grade school. (Making me happy, Otherworldy in her beauty, Takes time to shop with me, etc.) You might have done the same.

Dearest Ring, $289

Acrostic jewelry originated in the late eighteenth/ early nineteenth century, which is basically the beginning of the Victorian era. That particular time is one of the most "romantic" in history.

Contemporary Regard Ring, £493.00

The most popular stone arrangement:

which spells Regard.

Reproduction Regard Ring, $1,135

Other combinations spelled the word Dearest (one of my faves), love, adore, darling, or even a person's name, if the stones could be found.

Reproduction Dearest Ring, $1,135

It's actually fairly hard to dig up vintage pieces of this jewelry. I think people don't really know about it enough... if you had a brooch laying around with the above stones, would you think twice about their situation on the piece? Probably not, and even though I look out for them, I might even miss it. Since they were often made of paste gems (not genuine), then I would hazard a guess they did not hold up as well over the years and real gems might.

Dearest Ring (1940's vintage), $1,450

Anyhow, this style of jewelry was also used to showcase a gem's hidden meaning (i.e. ruby for passion, emeralds for faithfulness), similar to what I wrote about in yesterday's post.

Dearest ring, $129.99

DEAREST Pin, Ebay, $200

I truly wish more designers would give this form another chance. As Wendy pointed out, sometimes the combos are just plain hideous, but some of them really do work. In the right hands, I think they could be lovely.

This site was a big help.


WendyB said...

Ah, you finally got to do you acrostic post. Good examples! But I'm fixated on the memento mori on the book cover!

WendyB said...

Do "your" acrostic post. I have to deal with this sticky keyboard already. Argh!

In Yr Fshn said...

I didn't even notice your typo and for several seconds could not figure out what on earth your second comment meant! Sticky keyboards are probably one of the least fun things on earth.

WendyB said...

I've been struggling with mine for a year and been too lazy to do anything about it!

In Yr Fshn said...

Wendy, also? You should totally read this book. There is so much about jewelry and it just makes you salivate. She has another book about vintage couture!

WendyB said...

I was thinking exactly that about the book. I have to get it! It sounds like it might inspire a lot of new design ideas too!

In Yr Fshn said...

Definitely. And there's a designer in it who makes new jewelry--the imagery is pretty great. I wish often that it was real jewelry, and that i could see it.

sentimental.jewelry said...

I greatly expanded my post on acrostic jewelry. check it out. -Kyle